This decade is shaping up to be the worst for unemployment since the Great Depression.
The U.S. unemployment rate has been above 8% for more than three long years, far above the 5.4% average of the seven full decades since the Great Depression.
Job growth, as measured by the household survey that calculates the jobless rate, has averaged 125,000 a month since household employment bottomed out in late 2009.
At that job pace, when will the U.S. see the unemployment rate fall to 7%? Possibly not until the end of this decade.
In forecasts released earlier this year, the Labor Department expects the labor force to grow to 164.4 million by 2020. The forecasts are based on long-run population growth and a declining labor force participation rate as the baby boomers retire.
If the current recovery’s pace of household employment growth held on, the jobless rate would fall below 8% in 2014, but it would not reach 7.0% until late 2019. That means this decade’s jobless rate would be about 7.9%, the highest for a decade since the Great Depression, beating out the reigning champ of the 1980s…